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How to Become a Certified Medication Aide

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A medication aide, also called a medication technician, administers medicine to patients in an intermediate or long-term care facility. Medication aides are supervised by a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse, and they work with patients who typically are taking several medications. Requirements to become a medication aide vary by state, but all states that have approved this position mandate certification.

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Obtain a high school diploma or equivalency, or know where your diploma is located.

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Contact your state Department of Health by phone or check the website to find out whether you need to be a certified nursing assistant to become a medication aide. Many states have this requirement, and some states mandate that a CNA work for six months to two years before becoming a certified medication aide.

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Acquire nursing assistant training and certification if you must be a CNA first. Technical school programs may last for several weeks or a semester, and some nursing facilities also provide training. Become certified as a nursing assistant by passing two state examinations--a written test to evaluate knowledge of basic nursing duties, and the other a practical exam.

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Complete training to become a certified medication aide. The length of training from state to state varies widely, with some programs lasting 20 hours and some lasting over 100. These programs are usually part-time and typically are taught by a registered nurse. You'll spend time in the classroom and also gain clinical practice. Coursework includes medical terminology, classification of medications, and pharmacology, which studies the effects of medication on the body.

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Pass your state's written exam to become a certified medication aide. Your instructor will have information on exam scheduling and on how to apply to take it. Your state may require a practical exam also.


Some states allow a challenge to bypass medication aide training. An individual enrolled in a licensed practical nurse program who has completed a medication course, for instance, may be allowed to take the certification exam without medication aide training.


Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.

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